Thesis & Non-Thesis Options
In consultation with the student’s major professor, the time, date, and place for the defense are determined. The student then delivers the "Request to Proceed with Final Defense of Thesis" form to the College of Graduate Studies. The major professor notifies the department, and presides over the defense. During the defense, the student's committee (all of whom must be physically present) may ask questions related to the thesis. In addition, the student should anticipate and be prepared to answer broad questions about the nature of the discipline. At the conclusion of the defense, the "Final Defense Report" is signed by the committee and returned to the College of Graduate Studies.
M.A. students choosing to pursue the non-thesis option take a set of three comprehensive examinations. The fields and questions are determined in consultation with the major professor and committee and may include: United States to 1877, United States Since 1877, Ancient World, Medieval Europe, Early Modern Europe, Europe Since 1750, Latin America, Asia.
- Exams may never be waived, in whole or in part.
- Exams will be graded Pass/Fail. The final arbiters of a student’s passing or failing an exam(s) are the members of his/her MA committee. A clear majority of the members (two of three, or three of four) must vote in favor for a student to pass the exams.
- All members of a student’s committee will participate in preparing questions for the exams. Being that this is a small department, it is normally expected that any and all department members with a competency in one or more areas of a student’s exams may participate in the preparation of exam and in the evaluation of the answers. Committee members are not constrained to accept the advice or opinions of non-committee faculty. A student should make an effort to acquaint himself/herself with all faculty members likely to play a role in the exams.
- A student will sit for three written examinations. The exams will be multi-question essay exams, each normally consisting of two or three questions with a choice as to which the student will actually answer. The student should expect questions that will reveal knowledge of chronology, major issues, and interpretations. Each exam will be a maximum of two and a half hours, including breaks.
- Exams may be hand written or on a computer. Any faculty member may, at any time, enter the area where an exam is being taken. Students may not.
- If a student fails all, some, or any one of these examinations, he/she may repeat the exams only once. The second attempt may be made no sooner than three months and no later than one year following the first attempt. The student must secure the consent of his/her committee for reexamination.
- Failure to pass all of the exams at the end of the second attempt will result in immediate and permanent termination from the program.
Revised Seminar Paper
Students in the non-thesis MA option must present to their committee one 20-30 page paper selected from previous coursework. The paper may be revised before submission.